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After School

Teen Art Cooperative
Our Mission

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Amado Al Fadni

Passport Agency

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Curated by Tavia La Follette

Artist Statement

The ‘Passport Agency’ was first presented in Cairo during the Sudanese referendum vote. It initially explored the concepts of nationality and identity many Sudanese were struggling with as the country divided, and passports for the new South Sudan were granted based on ethnic and religious criteria, rather than where, geographically, an individual might live.

In the installation, visitors are granted a passport with no application criteria, which permits travel anywhere. The lack of restrictions is intended to free individuals from the burden of having their identity and rights dictated by an unalterable document; or to alleviate the condition of the world’s 12 million stateless persons, who have no political identity or rights.

The current installation draws on the artist’s own experience applying for US entry to attend the opening of this exhibition. He has so far not been granted a visa. This 2nd phase is intended to take the visitor through the experience of visa application, which can vary wildly based on seemingly random factors: the applicant’s nationality, the experience or mood of the interviewer, and the time of day of the visa interview appointment. Questions on the application are taken directly from the application for a US visa.

This installation of ‘Passport Agency’ is designed to confront visitors with questions about the connection between nationality and personal identity, and about whether the visa system in place is really the best way to decide who may travel and who may not.



About The Artist

Amado Al Fadni is an Egyptian-born Sudanese artist. His childhood was composed of two environments: the Cairene street and the Sudanese home. The relationship, and sometimes tension, between the two strongly influenced his view of both cultures. In his own work, he draws on the character of the city for inspiration. He uses motifs and textures found in junk markets, antique shops, modern advertising, and ancient monuments. His images are rooted in place but not in time, often incorporating ancient, historical, and modern elements at once.

Curated by Tavia La Follette


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